In the early-mid 80s Microsoft created Multiplan, a spreadsheet application available for several 8-bit platforms such as the Commodore 64, the Apple II, and the CP/M operating system. This is the application that preceded Excel.
I knew that Microsoft partnered with ASCII Corporation to release an MSX-only version, called MSX-PLAN and available as a ROM cartridge. However, I had never seen the actual cartridge and was unable to find a dump of the ROM online anywhere.
Some time ago I saw it in an auction and was able to buy it. It is the educational package created in 1985 for the Sanno Institute of Management, with the ROM being exactly the same.
The cartridge doesn’t seem to do anything when inserted in the computer. The MSX just boots in BASIC as usual. However, entering the _MSXPLAN command (or CALL MSXPLAN) invokes the application:
The application is actually pretty nice and works well. It supports the typical functionality you would expect from a spreadsheet software such as Excel, though it is obviously not as fast as Excel on modern hardware. It does support reading/saving files to floppy disk or hard drive.
The dumped ROM is 32KB and runs fine under openMSX. It’s available here:
- MSX-PLAN Version 1.00 (ZIP, 29KB)
It’s not too intuitive, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to it either. If enough people are interested then I can prepare a simple instruction sheet. Just write in the comments below.